I started out with a 300$ singer. It was not worth the money, bobbin was constantly jamming, when it worked it would bridnest like crazy. I chucked it when I went to to college and used the Berninna's in the sewing room. Hated that one to. I really just think they didn't like me!
My dad bought me a Husqvarna Emerald 118 and I am in Love! I have had her for three years and never had a problem. She's pretty quite, very smooth and has tons of stitches and features.
My other Machine is a Benina 1010, an all metal uber-heavy son of a gun. Never had a problem with her either. She's great for heavy duty and I sew all my corsets on her.